A Brownsville family embarking on a vacation Saturday faced immense loss after a three-vehicle crash on U.S. 59 South left five dead and seven injured.

An adult female, two adult males and two children traveling in a passenger van were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, said Sgt. Ruben San Miguel, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Public Safety. All 10 passengers in the van were traveling from the Brownsville area to Galveston for a cruise, according to a close family friend.

The wreck involved a semi trailer, a passenger van and a Ford F-250 pickup truck.

Another person, also traveling in the van, was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, San Miguel said.

A male and female from the pickup were transported to Citizens Medical Center, where they were in stable condition Saturday.

Location of US 59 crash

The crash occurred in the highlighted area on US 59.

Three more people from the van were transported to DeTar Hospital North, while one was taken to Citizens Medical Center. None of the four patients’ conditions were available Saturday night, San Miguel said.

The victims’ identities will not be released until all next of kin are notified, he added.

“Our main objective in this crash is to notify the next of kin and to let them know what is going on and, of course, to investigate the crash,” he said. “That is our primary purpose right now – to make sure that the families are notified and taken care of.”

A trooper was sent to Houston to stay with the victim at Memorial Hermann Hospital until family arrives, while calls to family members of other victims continued to be made Saturday night, he said.

The driver of the semitrailer was the only person who was not injured, said Victoria Fire Chief Tracy Fox.

The white van was northbound on U.S. 59 in the left lane at the intersection of U.S. 59 Business and U.S. 59 North when it struck a semitrailer that was northbound in the outside lane, San Miguel said.

The collision caused the driver of the van to lose control, cross over a grassy median and strike a southbound white Ford F-250 head-on.

Missing dog

Rocket was reported missing from a crash scene on U.S. 59.

A black-and-white male dog named Rocket fled from the pickup truck where he was riding with his owners, but was later found, said Donna Odem, a retired Victoria fire captain who is a friend of a victim’s relative and searched for dog in the hours following the crash.

The Victoria Fire Department, Victoria County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety responded to the crash about 11:15 a.m.

Troopers were still investigating about 1:30 p.m., while the deceased were being transported from the scene.

Southbound U.S. 59 traffic that piled up behind the wreck for hours was rerouted through Farm-to-Market Road 444, until about 2:45 p.m., when officials reopened the lanes.

“We are working diligently as a department with all our resources, from emergency management to the Texas Rangers, who are aiding us in resources and any kind of equipment we need to help us better understand contributing factors that led to this crash,” San Miguel said.

Though contributing factors are still unknown, he stressed the importance of paying close attention while traveling Texas roadways.

“Pay attention when you’re driving,” he said. “The main thing is for drivers to be aware of how important it is to be alert when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Be alert to everything.”

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

I was born and raised in Houston, but spent many summers and weekends in the Crossroads while growing up. I studied journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, and feel lucky to cover a region I love dearly.

(1) comment

Joseph/Linda Crisp

Such a tragedy. What if passenger rail travel in Texas was expanded? Wouldn’t it be a way to reduce roadway crowding and provide safe travel options? Car rentals are available at most destinations. Look to the future, Texas.

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